As usual the latest supercomputer is x number of times faster that the present incumbent, in this latest iteration let x equal six. The thing is, this one is costing a whopping £1.2 billion, the largest amount of money ever injected into what remains of the 167 year organisation founded by Vice-Admiral Robert Fitzroy. I notice that a lot of the UNIX diehards are upset that the Met Office have got into bed with Microsoft in this project, with dire warnings of ‘blue screens of death’.
I, like a lot of others, will find it hard to believe that they are able to tweak greater accuracy out of their existing weather and climate models when they can’t even forecast what next month’s weather will be like. Take todays long range forecast for next month as an example of what we can do with today’s current supercomputer and the models they’re running.
I’m not convinced it’s the speed of the supercomputer that’s so vitally important as much as the accuracy of the NWP model that they’re running. The supercomputer itself may be six times faster, but if that means we will be six times faster to an inferior forecast what have we gained?